It’s been little over A year since I wrote Defending Boyhood, and yet the monstrous thing that passes for culture has posed a new threat to boys, one which even I could not have imagined. We now must endure drag queens at public libraries, reading stories to children about sexuality, inviting them into their puerile confusions. “How many kids here want to be drag queens when they grow up?” smiles the reader, the groomer. “Drag queens just want to spread love,” said the fellow who did his spiel of enticement at a library near our home. Spread it, deep and thick.
This phenomenon– the castration of boys who are persuaded they are “really” girls, and who are victims of evil and destructive suggestions; the encouragement of boys to dress as girls and dance for the pleasure of adults – reveal a contempt for healthy boyhood that is unexampled in human history. I do not claim girlhood is thriving, either, but I focus on what I know by experience. I was a boy once, after all.
Certain people hold a grudge against the ordinary male, with all his strengths and flaws. Men are held responsible, not accidentally but inexcusably, for all the world’s wickedness and suffering. Nor may you point to the commodities that men have produced in the modern world: the rich bounty of food, the electric power, the highways, the towering cities, the information signals whizzing through the air by the trillions every second. All those things stir up not gratitude, but resentment. Boys hear that their sex is worthless. They are to blame. The only boys permitted to take pride in their sex are those who have repudiated it or turned it to unnatural uses. The only good boy is a girl.
In former times, a boy might be well instructed by a female teacher who could work with his boyish nature rather than smother it. That same boy had plenty of things to do outside school to train him for manhood. He went shooting with his father, to provide food for the table. He played rough outdoor games with other boys. He helped farm the land, mend the fences, tend the cattle, patch the roof, cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake; and the work built up not only his muscles, but his masculine outlook on the world and his duty in it. For most boys now, healthy work is a thing of the past, and so too are female schoolteachers who were wise in the ways of boys, and who loved them enough to know they could not make men out of them.
Ordinary men must reclaim education of their sons, in its broadest sense. Your son’s imagination is deformed by what he reads in school. Do you think an hour of church on Sunday will wipe from his mind all the evil and sickly images he has been made to feed on all week? He has no skill in his hands. Who will impart skill to him – his teachers? He knows no cheerful and manly songs. He has no imaginative fight in him. He has never read Treasure Island. He does not know who George Patton or William Sherman were. Who will teach him about those great warriors – his feminist schoolteacher?
I don’t want boyhood to be a political subject. The point is to get boys out of poisonous air and bring them back to healthy things that boys have always done. We are talking about nature: the nature of man, and the nature of the boy. There are some things that women cannot do and are not meant to do, and in our time women show themselves quite unwilling even to try. One of them is to lead boys to become men.
ANTHONY ESOLEN is a professor and writer-in-residence at Northeast Catholic College (Warner, NH). He is the author and translator of more than 20 books, including Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World; Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World; Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture; Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child; and Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity (St. Benedict Press)